We’re thrilled to have here today Divena from Kay Marshall Strom’s new global fiction, The Love of Divena. Divena is a 15-year-old struggling to survive in a poor village in South India.
It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so much for this interview, Divena. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
I do not want anyone to think I willingly left my ammama—my grandmother. I would have stayed with her and never left her side, but she would not allow it. I loved her with all my heart, but she loved me even more. I want everyone to know I did not want to go.
I cannot answer such a question. You must understand, no one in all my life ever asked my opinion on anything. What those greater than me say must be so. And everyone is greater than me.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I can love because I am loved. My ammama was the first person to ever care about me. And my Sundar—oh, how he loved me! But what I did not know was that it was really God all the time. Not any of our million Hindu gods who threaten and punish us. No, it was the Jesus God. He loved me first, and he loves me most.
I am willful and do not obey. And I allow myself to be too easily tempted. My appa—my father—who I know so well. . . I almost believed the tricky things he said to me. That would have been the end of everything.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
I have never seen television or a movie. But I did see pictures of a beautiful Bollywood star named Bipasha Basu. She is high caste, of course, so she must never know I dared compare myself to her. But maybe if she got enough money, she would agree to play my part.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Oh… What a question to ask! But I do. Yes.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
When my grandmother was so sick and my appa was trying to catch me to sell me. I thought I had no person on the earth looking out for me. I did not think I would live to see another day. And because of things I had done, I was certain I would come back in the next life as a miserable cockroach. A miserable female cockroach!
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I would not want to be my papa. Father had no one to love him, and he did not know how to love anyone. He never heard of the Jesus God because he would not listen to anyone but himself.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Oh, it is too wonderful. Too wonderful! I still cannot believe that anyone would do something so fine for me.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?
Do not be too hard on us. Not even the Brahmans or the landowners. Please remember: it is the way we do things. It is all we know.
Thank you for this interview, Divena. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
I do not think so. I will go to the big city and blend in with the crowds of people. No one will know me, but I will finally be someone.
Kay Marshall Strom is the author of forty published books. Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word.
Her latest book is the Christian historical fiction, The Love of Divena.
To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.
Visit Kay at Twitter: http://twitter.com/kaysblab
Pick up your copy of The Love of Divena at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Love-Divena-Blessings-India/dp/1426709102/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348760002&sr=8-1&keywords=the+love+of+divena
Pick up your copy of The Love of Divena at the publisher’s website: http://abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=7312
India 1990. In the final book of the Blessings of India series, Shridula, old and stooped at fifty-nine, makes her painful way to pay homage to the elephant god Ganesh, lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. “Why are we Hindus instead of Christians?” her seventeen-year-old granddaughter Divena asked.
“Because we are Indian,” said Shridula.
So begins a spiritual journey for Divena as she struggles against an entire culture to proclaim a faith close to her heart while rocking the world of two families.